Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ranting about Pulling Right for Emergency Vehicles

In this post, I'm going to sound like an old man. A grumpy one.  Honestly, I'm not old enough yet to be a curmudgeon, but there are some things that just call for rants.

When I was taught to drive, in the state of Nevada, I was taught to pull to the right and stop for emergency vehicles with sirens on.  It didn't matter which direction the emergency vehicle was coming, overtaking, crossing paths or head on; you were to pull to the right and stop.

Same thing with school buses, if they were stopped with their lights flashing for kids boarding, you were to stop, no matter what side of the road the bus was on (unless the road was divided).  There's no telling what kids may do - they have a tendency to dart.

I'm no driving angel, but there are a few rules that are sacrosanct and you just don't break them.  These are a few of them (respecting school zones is another).

Since I've been taught to drive, I've lived in several other states and now reside in Washington state.  Each state has different driving rules and driving conventions.  But the rules are the same for emergency vehicles in Washington.  I've even blog/ranted about it before!  Yesterday, I saw the most surprising display of not pulling to the right.

Yesterday, Saturday 13 November, sometime about 12:30 PM, I was driving eastbound on Interstate 90, between Bellevue and Issaquah.  I was in the car pool lane coming back from swim practice.  Traffic was moving just at the speed limit, because there was a motorcycle cop (Bellevue,  Issaquah or Sammamish police department) a little ways ahead.

I checked my rear view mirror and saw that I was being overtaken by a Washington State Patrol with lights and siren on.  Dutifully, I moved to the right.  Knowing that traffic wasn't going to pull to the right and stop, I did make sure to move 2 lanes over, giving the WSP the most room I could and avoiding my own car crash.

The WSP vehicle blazed by, continuing down the carpool lane.  However, it had to change lanes when it  overtook the motorcycle cop, because he didn't move over to let the emergency vehicle pass.  I was aghast.  Of all the people on the road, the motorcycle cop has the best idea of what it means to have lights and sirens on.  It was just incredible.

No wonder people in Washington don't pull over.  The marketing campaign is misdirected and even those entrusted to enforce the laws don't respect it.  I just hope that by the time the ambulance is coming for this old man (I've still got a few years) that people do pull over and let it by.


Amelia said...

Damn right, Sir.

There are rules to break in life but they're not the road rules.

imhelendt said...

My favorite Washington state bullshit? When the cops pull someone over or there's an accident? THEY FREAKIN STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!!!! W.....T.....H??????? There's no move to the right. There's no sense of the traffic jam it's causing, they just STOP RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE AT!!!!